Freedom of Speech

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Freedom of Speech part 3

“Necessity is the excuse for every infringement on freedom.” – Professor Eric Foner of Colombia University

Freedom of Speech seems to be the hot topic of controversy when it comes to the Bill of Rights. There’s this need for us to say whatever we want so we can express our own views and perspectives in society. Then there’s the issue where an individual feels the need that he can say what he so pleases, but another person isn’t allowed to say such things. We want to be able to express everything we have to say but once someone shares words that we disagree with we want that right to be taken away because we find that it’s wrong or cruel. In the documentary when there is a scene showing protestors with their signs saying ‘fag’ I remember the controversy over gay marriage rights. People could feel that they shouldn’t be able to protest and say such horrible things about another group of people, but it isn’t putting anyone in immediate harm, so they are allowed to share their words. It’s not like they are in a crowded theater shouting ‘fire’ (as seen in the clip 8:47). That would start a riot and create chaos and possible death, but people expressing their opinions, even if they’re laced with hatred, isn’t physically hurting anyone.

Freedom of Speech part 4

The Chase Harper story is one of the things that really makes me question how schools handle certain situations. Chase Harper being questioned by an armed sheriff? For a T-shirt? That’s absolutely absurd. I understand when a school doesn’t want kids wearing shirts that have naked women on them, profanity, I get that, but an excerpt from the bible on his shirt is offensive? No one complained about his shirt, no one was offended as they know of, it’s absurd.

His vice principal telling him to leave his faith at the car, because it’s offensive? Along with free speech you could argue his right to freedom of religion. If a girl walks into school and she’s wearing a hijab and someone finds that offensive, is she supposed to leave that in the car as well?

Not allowing speech on a campus that they feel is offensive to students is too rash of an idea. Different things offend different groups of people, soon enough they just won’t be able to speak at all because they’ll be trying to put so many limits on speech. One could also argue that they’re just sheltering the kids far too much by trying to eliminate any offensive speech. No one wins when this kind of ordeal goes on in schools. I understand the need to protect students and not to start any controversy, but students should be exposed to these different forms of speech. Eliminating this isn’t helping them at all; it’s sheltering them and making them more close-minded.

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